The Beautiful Andean Hike to Machu Picchu
Is your idea of the perfect vacation a trek to Machu Picchu but away from the crowds? If the answer is yes, look no further than the 3-day Huchuy Qosqo to Machu Picchu trek. Enjoy this incredibly picturesque hike through stunning landscapes as you observe beautiful towns, find llamas and alpacas, and witness soaring mountain peaks and a surprising variety of local flora and fauna.
You’ll also make new friends in local communities where you can immerse yourself in their world and learn all about their customs and traditions as you walk in the footsteps of their ancestors on parts of the mythical Inca Trail. This is the perfect trip for those short on time who want a real, rural Andean experience. Join us on the trail for the adventure of a lifetime today!
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Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or as a couple, you can join our 3-day adventure to Machu Picchu with knowledgeable guides through the most amazing Andean landscapes. The Huchuy Qosqo trek is like taking a step back in time, and it’s hard to believe that an adventure like this is so close to Cusco! Make the most of your time in the land of the Incas and head out on this unique and off-the-beaten-path hike.
From the moment you set off, this trek takes you off the typical tourist route. You’ll walk along ancient trails and visit local communities where you’ll be immersed in the local culture and amazed by the expansive landscapes.
On the second day, you’ll visit the little-known archaeological complex of Huchuy Qosqo, a pre-Inca site that was conquered by the Incas and thus incorporated into their empire early on in their expansion. This site offers an interesting mix of pre-Inca and Inca architecture and is set on the side of a beautiful hill in a pretty location overlooking the Sacred Valley.
After visiting this fascinating site, we’ll begin the journey to Ollantaytambo, where we’ll catch the train to Aguas Calientes. From Aguas Calientes, we’ll visit the most famous Inca site of all: Machu Picchu! This astounding Inca citadel is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that isn’t to be missed during your time in Peru. So, what are you waiting for? Join us on this epic experience through ancient lands to the most incredible fortress.
Itinerary at a Glance
Cusco | Tambomachay - Qoricocha Lake - Pucamarca - Huchuy Qosqo
Start your hike from Tambomachay and eat lunch at Qoricocha Lake. Hike another 4 hours this afternoon to reach your camp on the Huchuy Qosqo terraces.
Huchuy Qosqo | Lamay - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
Explore Huchuy Qosqo complex this morning before having lunch in Lamay. After, take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes to spend the night in a hostel.
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
Spend the morning exploring Machu Picchu before coming back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch. From there, take the train to Ollantaytambo and then our private transport to your accommodation in Cusco.
What's it like
- Hike through some of the most stunning landscapes on the planet.
- Stay away from the crowds on this off-the-beaten-path route to Machu Picchu.
- Visit the unique and rarely-visited Inca complex of Huchuy Qosqo.
- Immerse yourself in rural Andean communities and learn all about their customs and traditions.
- Learn all about the fascinating Andean flora and fauna as well as the history of the Incas.
- End your adventure at the incredible Inca fortress, Machu Picchu.
Why Travel with us
Cusco | Tambomachay - Qoricocha Lake - Pucamarca - Huchuy Qosqo
Highlight of the day: Hiking through the stunning Andean scenery.
Immerse Yourself In a Pre-Incan Experience In the Beautiful Andes
This morning, we’ll take you to Tambomachay to begin your hike. You’ll get to enjoy some incredible views of Cusco as you make your way to Qoricocha Lake, which is where you’ll have your first delicious lunch.
In the afternoon, we’ll head up to the highest point of the entire trek before hiking downhill for the rest of the day. You can expect some amazing sights, like valleys, a canyon, and even a part of the original Inca Trail! You’ll spend the night on one of the Huchuy Qosqo terraces.
Your unforgettable adventure begins today when we stop by your accommodation early (6:00 am) to pick you up and drive you, for around 20 minutes, to the Inca site of Tambomachay (3,800 m / 12,467 ft). During this first section, we’ll pass by Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, and Puka Pukara. Tambomachay is where we’ll start our hike and join the rest of the team: The guide, the horseman who’ll lead the horses, and the chef. We’ll get your luggage on the horses and then start walking.
We’ll ascend for 3 hours until we reach the first pass of our excursion (4,100 m / 13,451 ft). Along this part of the route, you’ll be able to enjoy some awe-inspiring views of Cusco city and the surrounding mountains. After another hour, we’ll arrive at Qoricocha Lake. This spectacular location is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious lunch and enjoy the pretty surroundings.
After eating, we’ll ascend for 45 minutes to the second pass, which is the highest point of our entire trek (4,200 m / 13,780 ft). From here, the rest of the day is downhill. For 4 hours, we’ll cross fertile valleys, a fabulous canyon, and a portion of the original Inca Trail. Our camp will be on one of the Huchuy Qosqo terraces (3,600 m / 11,811 ft). Once we get there, you’ll enjoy a spectacular dinner and some well-deserved rest.
Huchuy Qosqo | Lamay - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
Highlight of the day: Walking around the unique Huchuy Qosqo complex and learning all its secrets.
Explore the Fascinating Site of Huchuy Qosqo
Enjoy breakfast at camp before you head out on your guided tour of Huchuy Qosqo with your guide. You’ll then make your way down to the town of Lamay for lunch.
This afternoon, our transport will take you to Ollantaytambo to explore a short while before you board the train to Aguas Calientes. You’ll have the afternoon free to relax before enjoying dinner in a top restaurant. Spend the night in a hotel and go to bed early.
We’ll wake up bright and early to enjoy a fantastic breakfast in our camp this morning. You’ll be amazed at the amazing food the chef cooks up in the middle of the mountains! You’ll then enjoy a guided tour of the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo. Your knowledgeable guide will teach you all there is to know about the site while you explore and enjoy pretty views of the valley.
Then we’ll descend for 2 hours to the town of Lamay (2,941 m / 9,649 ft) in the Sacred Valley, where we’ll have lunch. Once we’re ready and well-nourished, our private mobility will be waiting for us to head towards Ollantaytambo (2,792 m / 9,160 ft). We’ll have a brief tour of this mysterious and magical place, which is considered the last intact living Inca town that exists. You’re sure to enjoy this picturesque town and its ancient cobbled streets.
In Ollantaytambo, you’ll board the Vistadome luxury train that heads to Aguas Calientes. As soon as we arrive, you’ll check-in at the hotel. You’ll have the afternoon free to visit the relaxing hot springs or explore the town before dinner in the best restaurant in town. Make sure you go to bed early, as you’ll need to be up before dawn tomorrow.
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
Highlight of the day: Exploring every inch of the astounding feat of humankind, Machu Picchu.
Tour of the Incredible Incan City: Machu Picchu
Wake up very early to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu. You’ll enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the most significant sections before you have a few more hours to explore by yourself or hike one of the extra mountains. You’ll need to make your way down around midday.
Once you’re back in Aguas Calientes, you’ll be able to find a spot to have lunch before making your way to the station. You’ll board the train to Ollantaytambo and then our private transport to your accommodation in Cusco.
You’ll enjoy a tasty breakfast at your hotel before we embark very early (5:30 am) on a bus to take us to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu to see the sunrise. We like to get there before the other groups so you can enjoy the early morning light in peace and make the most of your time at the site.
You’ll discover the secrets of this mysterious place on a 2-hour guided tour. The architecture of the Incas is astonishing! They constructed a safe, sustainable city with excellent planning on top of the mountains thanks to their deep relationship in harmony with Mother Nature. You’ll be fascinated as the citadel’s secrets are unraveled before your eyes.
If you chose to climb the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain extra hike (extra tickets booked in advance needed), you’ll do it at 10:00 am. Otherwise, you’ll have free time in Machu Picchu to explore further (you can walk to Sun Gate or the Inca Bridge) before you return to Aguas Calientes.
In Aguas Calientes, you’ll have time to find a restaurant of your choice for some lunch and then board the Expedition Train heading to Ollantaytambo. From there, our private transport will pick you up and take you back to your accommodation in Cusco. The time of your arrival will depend on the time of your train ticket, which is subject to availability.
Your exciting 3-day whirlwind trip is over, but we’re sure it’ll be an adventure you never forget!
At Salkantay Trekking, we specify the included and non-included services under all the tour itineraries listed on our website. We take care of all the logistics, but please pay attention to the details to avoid missing anything. Some items may be different for specific programs, so please read carefully before booking with us.
What Is Included?
High Quality Service & Safety
You’ll meet your trekking guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. There, we’ll provide you with the duffle bags, which our horses will carry. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
Experienced Tour Guide
English and spanish speaking official tour guide. All our guides are graduates of the professional career of Tourism of the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. We choose them for their professionalism, experience, responsibility, seriousness, unbridled passion for exploring, and sincere desire to proudly share in our culture and history. He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
Private Camping Equipment
You’ll have spacious dining and kitchen tents where you can enjoy your food without problems. In addition, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our horses).
One Duffle Bag
On the trek, you can carry your personal belongings up to a maximum weight of 7 kg / 15.4 lb (this weight includes your sleeping bag).
Medical Kit or First AID Kit
All Salkantay Trekking guides have received specialized training in first aid. We hold mandatory training sessions with our guides every February. Your guide will always carry a first aid kit to face basic emergencies (altitude sickness, travelers' diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) as well as oxygen. If necessary, we’ll evacuate you from the path as quickly as possible and ensure that you arrive at a clinic for treatment.
Extras Included in our Service
We believe that attention to small details is what sets us apart from other local companies. You’ll receive a cover to protect your backpack on the road and a rain poncho.
24/7 Customer Service
We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication with Salkantay Trekking leading up to your trek.
Best Camping Tents (Day 1)
Salkantay Trekking uses the best equipment to ensure your safety and comfort. Every 2 people will share Eureka Timberline or Mountain Hard Wear tents with a capacity for 4 people.
Comfortable Hostel in Aguas Calientes
The last night of this trek is spent in a hostel in Aguas Calientes with a double or triple room, private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, and 2 Dinners
Our chef prepares the best dishes in the middle of the mountain. Our passengers love our food! We respect all diets (vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost), so let us know if you have any particular allergies or restrictions on your reservation form and remind your guide during the briefing. You’ll enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to hot drinks and snacks.
Water on the trail
We’ll provide you boiled, filtered, and cooled water during your hike, from your first lunch to your last breakfast. For this, you need to bring a camel bag or an empty bottle (we recommend a capacity of 2 liters).
Wake up tea
Every morning at the campsite, you'll be woken up with a cup of hot coca tea. Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
Tea Time or Happy Hour
Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide you popcorn, biscuits/cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you won't have to wait until dinner to relax, warm-up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
Snacks on the trail daily
Before starting your trekking, your tour guide will provide you a cloth bag with local fruits, cookies, chocolate, caramels, etc. Every morning, we’ll refill it so that you can enjoy your snacks during the walk.
One cloth snack bag per person
To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we'll give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
You’ll be provided with a small towel and soap before each meal to clean your hands.
- Day 2: From Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes - PeruRail Vistadome Train Service.
- Day 3: From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo - PeruRail Expedition Train Service.
- Day 3: From Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.
- Day 4: From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
One-Way Consettur Bus Ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (Day 3)
Personal Belongings Transportation
On days 1 and 2, cargo mules will carry all the camping equipment and your baggage allowance (7 kg / 15.4 lb). Muleteers will be responsible for your duffle bag and personal items.
Permits & Entrance Tickets
Entry Ticket to Huchuy Qosqo Archaeological Site
Entry to Machu Picchu Archaeological Site
What Is Not Included?
Extras and important equipment
All our travelers need a sleeping bag to camp. Inflatable mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional but highly recommended. If you do not have them, don’t worry, you can rent them with Salkantay Trekking.
- Sleeping bag: US$ 10.00
- Inflatable mattress: US$ 10.00
- Walking poles (pair): US$ 10.00
Huayna Picchu Mountain
You can climb the famous mountain you always see in the photos behind the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. It’s 45 minutes uphill, and coming back down can be scary if you fear heights. You can take this excursion once your guided tour to Machu Picchu ends. The permit must be issued at least one month in advance due to high demand. Consider that there could be changes to protect your integrity, mainly due to weather conditions.
The ticket for Huayna Picchu Mountain has an extra cost of US$ 60.00 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain is another of the mountains that surround the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. It offers less steep, wider, and visually less frightening trails than Huayna Picchu, and it takes 1.5 hours to reach the top. This walk requires an entrance ticket which we can secure for you if we have time in advance.
The ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain has an extra cost of US$ 60.00 per person.
Lunch in Aguas Calientes and Dinner in Cusco (Day 3)
Personal Hiking Clothing and Gear
Tips for our staff
Tipping is the norm on any excursion to Machu Picchu. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome, especially considering the hard work they do. Typically, group participants collect their tips to hand out to the horsemen and chefs together.
Additional costs or delays beyond our control
Landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to a safety concern, illness, pandemia, government policy changes, political instability, strikes, act of God, etc.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as carefree as possible. In this section, you’ll find the answers to all the questions you have about traveling with Salkantay Trekking in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Have another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap!
How many days do I need to acclimate in Cusco before the Trek?
It’s very important to be well acclimated to the altitude before exerting yourself on a trek. We recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before the trek starts to help you adjust and avoid possible problems with altitude sickness while on the trek.
You might have already been in another area of Peru at a high altitude before arriving in Cusco. In that case, we still recommend you have a whole day in Cusco to rest, recover from your travel, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cusco before departing for the trek.
Here some suggestions for activities to do in the Cusco vicinity before starting your adventure trek:
Briefing or Informative Meeting
All information meetings and briefings are held in our main office in Cusco (or your hotel) at 5:00 pm, one night before the tour begins. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. If you’re unable to attend, you must coordinate another time by email, by phone or at the Salkantay Trekking office.
Trek Balance Payment (in Cusco)
The trek has to be paid for in full at most 7.30 pm one day before your departure (generally after the briefing).
It would be much appreciated if you pay the trek balance in cash US dollars or local currency at our office in Cusco. You can withdraw some money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian Soles). You can also pay online with PAYPAL or NIUBIZ (credit or debit card), but you will have to add an additional 5% fee charged for the use of their secure payment gateway. We do not accept bank checks or payment of the balance by traveler’s checks.
Duffel Bag or Canvas Case
You’ll receive a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. Our horses will carry them, and the horsemen will hand them to you when you get to each camp. They measure 60 x 24 x 22 cm (23.6 x 9.45 x 8.66 in).
A maximum of 7 kg / 15.4 lb is allowed for each duffel bag, including the weight of your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothes, and other personal items.
Can I store my luggage at your office?
Of course! During the trip, your main luggage can be stored at our office (you can organize it with us on the briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you won’t need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags; put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (in the unlikely case of theft, many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing everything). It’s best to put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Pick up of guests
Salkantay Trekking can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historical Center of Cusco. Your guide will coordinate the pickup time in the briefing session, but please keep in mind that the time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an old city, meaning it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Return to Cusco
Returning from Machu Picchu requires quite a bit of logistics, but don’t worry. Everything is included in your tour!
- In Machu Picchu, you’ll board a bus that’ll take you for 25 minutes to the small city of Aguas Calientes. The buses are boarded according to arrival.
- In Aguas Calientes, you’ll board a train to Ollantaytambo. Your guide will give you the train tickets where the boarding time will be shown. Make sure you’re on the platform 30 minutes early. The train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes 1:45 hours.
- Once you arrive at the station, our representative, identified with the Salkantay Trekking clothing, will be waiting to transfer you to Cusco or directly to your hotel. The trip from Ollantaytambo to Cusco takes 1:30 hours.
- In Cusco, depending on your hotel’s location, we’ll take you to a smaller car from our company (Hyundai H1) to transfer you faster to your hotel.
Note: Your tour includes a One-Way Consettur Bus Ticket Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu, so you can choose to use it from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu or from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes. If you want a round-trip bus ticket, you’ll need to pay an extra of US$ 12.00.
Group tours are made up of different types of people, then physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route.
It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, the guide will be the one who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if such modifications are possible.
Strikes and demonstrations
Strikes and demonstrations are common in Peru, and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked, and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your trip as originally planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
Under these circumstances, tours may also be canceled. In case of changes or cancellations, everything will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority, and our decisions will be made to protect it.
Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our transport, tents or restaurants. You’re the only one responsible for your objects during the tour.
"Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machu Picchu" can leave any day of the week, from March through January. We don’t operate this itinerary in February because of the rainy season & maintenance of the route.
2022 Land Cost
Group Price: US$ 450.00 per person.
Required Pre-payment: US$ 200.00 per person.
Balance (Cusco): US$ 250.00 (Commonly paid in Cusco after the briefing).
This small-group journey is guaranteed to operate with just two guests.
Notice that PayPal charges a fee of 5%, which we ask the client to cover since it's due to the use of its service. This tax is just for online deposits so that you will pay the remaining in cash (the briefing day in Cusco) without charges.
Please, after your deposit, send us the transfer number to firstname.lastname@example.org; only after that, we'll be able to confirm your deposit and reservation.
All the related treks to Machu Picchu end in or before Aguas Calientes, so you’ll spend the last night in a hotel in the town rather than camping (including a shared room in a standard 3-star hotel). If you need a hotel upgrade or prefer a single room, you can pay an extra fee. Please enquire for more details.
Extras & Upgrades
There are complementary services and upgrades you can include in this trip.
- Huayna Picchu: US$ 60.00
- Machu Picchu Mountain: US$ 60.00
- Huchuy Picchu Mountain: US$ 45.00
- Single Supplement (Hotel at Aguas Calientes): US$ 30.00
- Extra Night at Aguas Calientes: US$ 50.00
- Vistadome Train: US$ 60.00
Extensions & Offers
There are several extensions you can include to your Peru Adventure.
- Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Sacred Valley: US$ 60.00 US$ 50.00
- City Tour: US$ 30.00 US$ 20.00
There are additional items you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices.
- Sleeping bag:: US$ 10.00
- Inflattable mattress: US$ 10.00
- Walking poles (pair): US$ 10.00
Once your booking has been confirmed, we guarantee the price won’t increase, whatever the circumstances. So please, before booking, ensure you’ve read all our important tour information.
Student discounts apply to anyone 17 years old or younger. To receive the discount, we require a copy or clear photo of the passport at the time of booking. It must be valid and not expire within the travel dates. Please send it to email@example.com.
Thank you for your interest in having an adventure travel experience in Peru curated by Salkantay Trekking. Please take a moment to complete our short form, so one our friendly Adventure Consultants could provide you all the information for your trip of a lifetime in Peru.
Our Pledge | Your privacy is respected and protected. The Salkantay Trekking Company will never share, sell, or make public any of your personal contact information to third parties.
Remember | One of our Travel Experts will contact you soon to confirm the availability of the trip you chose, give you more information, and/or provide you alternative options. Once availability is established, we will ask for a deposit and a completed online registration to confirm your spot on the trek. Please call us at (+51) 958 191 179 with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.
Note | Due to the rainy season and trail maintenance, we don't offer this trek during the whole month of february. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, we are working to provide you a better service!